New Recreational Dungeness Crab Regulations Aim to Reduce “Ghost Fishing” and More

crab measure
Measure Dungeness crab through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab must measure at least 5¾ inches across. CDFW illustration

This year, the recreational Dungeness crab season opens statewide on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The daily bag and possession limit for Dungeness crab remains ten crabs per day that are at least 5¾ inches across, measured by the shortest distance through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab can be taken in all ocean waters of the state where they occur, excluding San Francisco and San Pablo bays. Continue reading

Following the Halibut: CDFW Tracks 2016 Recreational Pacific Halibut Catches to Keep Within Quota

Pacific halibut
Sport fisherman and California Recreational Fishery Survey staff with Pacific halibut. CDFW photo

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has monitored the recreational Pacific halibut catch to ensure it does not exceed the federally set annual quota since 2015. Active catch tracking during the season allows CDFW to manage the fishery in a timely and responsive way, and keep the catch within the quota.

The process for 2016 is the same one CDFW used to successfully track the fishery in 2015. CDFW tracks the catch using a combination of catch projections and catch estimates, and coordinates weekly with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) regarding progress towards the quota. If catch projections indicate the quota may be exceeded, NMFS has the authority to close the fishery early. Continue reading

2016 Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas Adopted

FINAL_August_2016The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the adoption of the 2016 Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas by the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) at their August 24 meeting in Folsom, California.

California is home to the largest scientifically designed network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the United States, comprising a total of 124 MPAs and 15 special closures which protect about 16 percent of state waters (approximately 9.6 percent in no-take MPAs). This accomplishment was the result of the California Legislature passing the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) in 1999. Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point Lobos State Marine Reserve

One stretch of coastline in Central California is so picturesque that it is considered by some to be “the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.”  This area, filled with amazing hiking trails, abundant marine life, and unparalleled scuba diving, is just a short drive south of the Monterey Peninsula. Continue reading

Agencies Mull Options to Prepare for Future Domoic Acid Events

crab testing
CDPH staff collects viscera from cooked crabs during domoic acid testing in 2015.   photo courtesy CDPH

In 2015 and 2016, there was an unprecedented bloom of a single-celled plant called Pseudo-nitzschia in ocean waters, which resulted in  elevated levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab and rock crab. The elevated levels of domoic acid in crab along the West Coast impacted California fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon Border.

The conditions that support the growth of Pseudo-nitzschia are impossible to predict, but tend to be more common in the warmer months Continue reading